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WMU announces scholarships are first initiative from record donation

John McNeill

Western Michigan University has announced the first initiative funded by the largest gift ever to a U.S. university. Western President Edward Montgomery says a new scholarship program will help 340 freshmen from low income families attend the university this year. Montgomery says the “Bronco Promise” will add about 600 more students each year after that. It’s a five year full scholarship to WMU. Montgomery says money from the Empowering Futures Gift will also pay for housing on campus for 110 new students.

“Data shows that students who live on campus do better academically and are more likely to reach graduation.”

Kalamazoo Public School’s Assistant Superintendent Dr. Amy Vondra says it will help hundreds of kids who might not have gotten this chance otherwise.

"This gift has the potential to super charge the college experience for our graduates and promise recipients. Allowing them to participate in things like on campus living and fully experience college life.”

The $550-million dollar "Empowering Futures" gift from anonymous donors, was announced earlier this year. Preference will go to students from Kalamazoo, as well as Grand Rapids and Detroit Promise Zones. To qualify, students have to come from families earning less than $50,000 a year. Applications are due February 15th. Awards will be made in March for next fall term.

Gordon Evans became WMUK's Content Director in 2019 after more than 20 years as an anchor, host and reporter. A 1990 graduate of Michigan State, he began work at WMUK in 1996.
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